Alumni Profile Series: Karl Happe '91
Name: Karl Happe
Class Year: 1991
Major: Energy and Environmental Studies
Current Residence(s): Munich, Germany
Current Position: Chief Investment Officer Insurance Related Strategies at Allianz Global Investors
Karl Happe ’91 received a degree in the Center of Energy and Environmental Studies, which was offered by the civil engineering department at the time. His thesis was focused on the solar-hydrogen energy cycle, an emission-free way of producing energy. Happe also took a few German and French courses and graduated with 40 credits.
In his free time, Happe rowed with the lightweight crew team. He was also a member of the Tiger Inn eating club, which was finally forced to admit women in 1991 after the New Jersey Supreme Court’s ruling in Frank v Ivy Club.
“I was enthusiastic, but a lot of people in the club weren’t that enthusiastic about it. It was a divisive thing in the club at the time,” said Happe. “I think it was a good thing, because a lot of the behavior from then wouldn’t be tolerated today. The club needed to grow up, and I’m glad it did.”
After college, Happe moved to Germany for a year on a Fulbright scholarship. He continued researching the solar-hydrogen energy cycle through a project at the University of Stuttgart. Upon finishing his scholarship, Happe returned to the US and worked at Morgan Stanley in private equity for a number of years before transitioning his career to Germany.
“My goal was to figure out a way to get back to Germany, and Munich was the kind of place I wanted to be,” said Happe.
Happe started working for Allianz Group in 2004, switched to Allianz Global Investors in 2013, and has been working there ever since. The pandemic forced all work at the firm to become remote, although some workers have been invited back to the office by now.
“When working from home, days become a lot more structured,” noted Happe. “You don’t just have casual conversations in the coffee room or whatever. You have to schedule everything.”